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Is This the Death of the American Penny?

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Industry Chief Slams Germany’s Energy Policy as ‘Absolutely Toxic’

Germany’s energy policies of boosting renewables while phasing out nuclear and coal have brought uncertainty about energy supply in the medium to long term, creating an “absolutely toxic” environment for industry investments, the president of the biggest German industry association told the Financial Times.

“Nobody can say with any certainty today what our energy supply will look like in seven years’ time, and that’s why no one can say how high energy prices will be in Germany then,” Siegfried Russwurm, president of Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie (BDI), the main industry body in Germany, told FT.   

“For companies that have to make investment decisions, that is absolutely toxic,” Russwurm added.

Germany’s energy policy of the past two years has deviated from that of many developed economies. Europe’s top economy has a goal to be carbon neutral by 2045 and boost the share of renewable energy in its power generation to 80% by 2030, up from around 50% now.

While other developed economies – even Japan – are betting big on nuclear power again to boost zero-emission electricity and reduce reliance on fossil fuel imports, Germany last year closed all its remaining nuclear power plants.

“We still have no clarity on how and by when we can create reliable reserve capacity,” Russwurm told FT, commenting on the government’s failure to reassure industries of energy supply in the medium to long term.

On Monday, the German government said that it would tender 10 gigawatts (GW) of new natural gas-fired capacity from power plants that could be converted to hydrogen in the 2030s, as part of plans to ensure stable electricity supply as wind and solar power generation and installations grow.   

The Economy Ministry said that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Economy Minister Robert Habeck, and Finance Minister Christian Lindner had agreed on a program with which the federal government would fund the new gas plants with money from the Climate and Transition Fund.

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Germany installed a record-high power capacity from solar and wind in 2023, but only solar additions met government targets, while wind power installations fell short of goals.

By Tsvetana Paraskova

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